Season 1 of AMC’s newest zombie apocalypse series, Fear The Walking Dead, is coming to a close this week. For many fans, the show has been a little too slow-paced and a little lacking in the zombie department to be truly engaging. But, could the advent of the show’s first villain change that? And what if there were two characters with the potential to become someone like the Governor in the flagship series, The Walking Dead?
WARNING: This article contains information about Season 1 of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes.
So far in Fear The Walking Dead, besides the evidence of large amounts of walkers — or the infected, as Fear likes to call them — there is also a decided lack of a villain. The show it is based on, The Walking Dead, also didn’t have a clear villain in Season 1 either, but, in Fear, there is the potential already for two characters to ride the slippery slope down into the domain of the resident evildoer. Let’s have a look at them.
Daniel Salazar (played by Ruben Blades) first appeared in Episode 2 (entitled “So Close, Yet So Far”) of Fear The Walking Dead. From the very first meeting, fans were led to believe that Daniel and his wife, Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola), had fled El Salvador because of the atrocities they were subjected to in the civil war going on there at the time. However, after Daniel took Corporal Andrew Adams (Shawn Hatosy) hostage and tortured him for information, it was made abundantly clear that the Salazars fled El Salvador because they were the persecutors, not the other way around.
Therefore, Daniel Salazar has just what it takes to do the things that need to be done in the zombie apocalypse. The rest of the characters can now thank him for the knowledge that they need to flee the L.A. quarantine zone or risk a “humane extermination.” So, now they are in Daniel’s debt.
With that knowledge, could Daniel slip into a position where he uses threats and the suggestion of torture tactics to control those around him? After all, he has already shown that he is willing to torture a stranger to get information to keep himself and his family safe, and it is only the early days in the apocalypse yet. If he is like this already, what will he be like when the food runs out and people become a bigger threat than the infected? Also, what would he become if his daughter, Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), became infected? Would he keep her in a room and take her out to brush her hair like the Governor did in The Walking Dead?
Victor Strand (played by Colman Domingo) has been kept a huge secret by AMC up until his appearance in Episode 5 (entitled “Cobalt”) of Fear The Walking Dead. In fact, even now, little is known about him other than he appears to be a smooth-talker who can pick the currency required — even in the midst of the zombie apocalypse — and can lift a key when he needs to escape.
And it is these sort of qualities that make him the perfect candidate for Fear’s first villain. Showrunner Dave Erickson also hinted at the fact Victor Strand could shape the way Season 2 of Fear The Walking Dead develops. “[Strand] will be very important in how the season ends and where we go in Season 2,” Erickson told the Hollywood Reporter recently.
The interesting thing to note about these two characters in Fear The Walking Dead is that if they do, indeed, become the shows bad guys, viewers have got to see them from the start. In The Walking Dead, the villains are always established when Rick’s group meets them — they are clearly the bad guys. However, how will viewers take to characters who we can empathize with? Digital Spy likened Daniel Salazar to “a barely restrained psychopath,” yet one that can be clearly seen to be troubled by what he has to do to get the job done, so, to a point, likable by the audience.
Victor, while not as instantly likable, is certainly charismatic and will likely draw in fans that way. And, to add another flavor to the mix, how will these two characters interact with each other once they do meet? It is something Dave Erickson is interested in seeing. “If you take Daniel and Strand and see how they interact, it’s going to be quite compelling,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.
So, will the thrill of Fear The Walking Dead be watching the characters descend into the place where they can never be redeemed again?
The Season 1 finale of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 9 p.m. / 8 p.m central.
Who do you think would make the better Fear The Walking Dead villain, Victor Strand or Daniel Salazar? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!
[Image credits: AMC]